Daily Archives: January 16, 2018

On second thought, maybe that early signing period isn’t so bad, after all.

Kirby’s in a mellower place, which is probably where you get to when you reel in the top signing class in the country.

“I think, for the majority of kids, it is a good thing,” Smart said. “They are able to make a decision at their own pace. They are ready to go. There are some kids that I think might have been pressured into making a decision that they may not have been ready to make yet. They thought, ‘if I don’t take this now, I won’t have it later.’

“I really think the Early Signing Period is an advantage for your mid-major or some schools that do a great job evaluating then another school comes in and last-second swoops up their kid. It is good and bad. I have no problem with it. If it benefits the student-athlete, then obviously, I am for it.”

As he should be.

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Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

An early look at the new direction

Seth Emerson takes a stab at projecting a 2018 depth chart here.  And, yeah, while it would be total folly to pretend that anything stitched together in the middle of January is etched in stone (not that Seth’s doing that, of course), it is interesting to see how the talent is accumulating, even before the last bits of this year’s recruiting class are known.

Start with what is going to be the early strength of the defense, the three down linemen and outside linebackers.  There is real depth on the line and I’m excited about what Walker and Grant bring to the table in succeeding Bellamy and Carter.

Another position worth drooling over is what Sam Pittman is putting together on the offensive line.  It’s a nifty combination of returning experience — four of the starters Emerson projects started on the o-line in 2017 — and burgeoning depth.  I expect Salyer to push Kendall Baker hard and the battle to start at right tackle could be epic.

If the line continues to improve, the situation at running back is fine, even with Chubb’s and Michel’s departures.  The same can be said at quarterback, at least assuming good health at the position.

If there are wait and see areas, they’re largely in the back six of the defense.  It’s hard to know how the interior linebackers will be deployed until Natrez Patrick’s situation is sorted out.  Will he be this year’s Ledbetter?  That would be great both for him and the defense, but it’s too soon to tell.

As for the secondary, the return of Reed and Baker is huge, no doubt, but there will be a wide open battle to replace Sanders.  The wild cards are LeCounte and Gibbs.

G-Day will be fun to watch, but there will be plenty of decisions that will come down to fall camp.  The good thing is that it appears Smart will have plenty of viable options.

Your thoughts?

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Filed under Georgia Football

“It was really a no-brainer for me.”

Kirby Smart had no doubts whatsoever about his latest coaching hire.

“Dan was a guy that I actually considered when I got the job. I wanted to bring him in with Coach Schumann. Dan does a tremendous job. I got to watch him work and be around him when I was with the University of Alabama.”

Lanning’s arrival provides a bit of a reunion, giving Georgia four former Alabama assistants, three now coaching together on the Bulldogs’ defense. Lanning was a graduate assistant on the Alabama staff during the 2015 season, working alongside Kirby SmartMel Tucker, and Glenn Schumann.

“He had a really good resume coming into Alabama,” Smart said. “He had been a full-time coach, had worked at several different places. He worked with outside backers, inside backers, safeties, special teams.”

The last two seasons saw Lanning on staff at Memphis.

“When he went to Memphis, he was able to sign the best non-Power 5 recruiting class in the country as the recruiting coordinator at Memphis,” Smart said. “He had a linebacker that led the country at inside linebacker with sacks and pressures last year at Memphis and broke Memphis records.”

Smart pointed out that Lanning was hired without an interview.

“I just know what kind of coach he is,” Smart said. “I knew that from being with him. I was 100 percent confident in who I wanted to hire. I did not have to interview him. He has a lot of energy on the field and I am really excited to see what he is going to do with a really talented D’Andre Walker and some freshmen at outside backer.”

Three takeaways there:

  • A no-interview hire, eh?  Sounds like somebody knows exactly what he’s getting.
  • One thing Smart believes he’s getting is another great recruiter.
  • It seems D’Andre Walker is already penciled in the 2017 starting defensive eleven.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

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Filed under Georgia Football

Redemption song

C’mon, tell me you can’t see this marriage happening.

Former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was in Tuscaloosa today and was in the football building, The Tuscaloosa News has learned. Saban has always had a healthy respect for Freeze, who gave Alabama fits with his offense. Freeze was given a head coach restriction and two-game suspension but only if he were to become a head coach. He would face no restrictions as an assistant coach.

Barrett Sallee reports that Freeze is in an “I’ll take anything, Nick” mood.

A source tells CBS Sports that former Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Monday. The Tuscaloosa News first reported Freeze’s presence on campus. Freeze and the Rebels topped Alabama twice (2014 and 2015) and put up 43 points on the typically-stout Tide defense in 2015 and 2016. Freeze’s interest in working with the Tide, according to a source, is not necessarily exclusive to the offensive coordinator position.

You can smell the support staff slot opening a mile away, although I suspect if it happens, the first thing Saban will do is put Freeze in touch with the staffer in charge of burner phones.

The sad thing about this, seriously, will be the inevitable whitewashing of Freeze’s resume after a couple of years in Tuscaloosa.  It’s the college football equivalent of laundering money.

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Filed under Freeze!, Nick Saban Rules